A reel-life wedding scene – a bride in a fine lehenga walks down the aisle along with her parents, towards the mandap. Thisis bound to bring happy tears or a smile to one’s face.
In real life too such magical moments are not unknown to Anushree Reddy, a self-taught fashion designer who is best known for creating fairy tale bridal ensembles. Her gorgeous lehengas, sarees, gowns, anarkalis are all drenched in the colour of romance.
Rolling out the red carpet…
Based in Hyderabad, the vivacious but soft-spoken Reddy, 37, has many reasons to celebrate in 2021. For starters, her eponymous label is now a decade old. Launched in 2010, it is synonymous with Indian bridal trousseau and festive-party outfits for women and men. This year, she is ready to waltz to the other side of the luxury industry with plans to design villas and holiday homes. In November 2020, she also launched her luxury wedding décor arm – Anushree Reddy Décor.
When asked what her clients love the most about her brand, she says it’s her works of delicate florals, pop of pastels and light fabrics, which have become her signature and the most liked designs over the years. “In the past five-six years, most brides have changed their mindset about wearing anything too dark and over the top for weddings. That’s where my outfits come into limelight.”
Bollywood, too, is an admirer of Anushree Reddy. Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Ananya Panday, Madhuri Dixit and Aditi Rao Hydari are often seen dolled up in Reddy’s creations. In the West, she recently was the chosen designer for Warner Bros. Tom & Jerry: The Movie (2021), starring Hollywood actors in live-action roles. It was a special moment for her. “I created a baby pink lehenga with exquisite, light embroidered flowers for Chloë Grace Moretz (a wedding planner in the movie) for an Indian wedding scene,” she says.
Hall of fame
Something that’s been brewing and took shape during the lockdown is the label’s own, first multi-storied atelier in the city of pearls, Hyderabad, set to open doors soon. She also plans to expand to other metro cities in the coming months.
Married in a political household, to Jaiveer Reddy, son of Kunduru Jana Reddy, a renowned politician and former leader of opposition in Telangana assembly, Anushree is a mother to two young boys, Ranadev and Shiv Reddy. Before plunging into fashion design, she pursued a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Cardiff University, UK, in 2005. After graduating, she returned to India in 2008 and joined a Hyderabad-based lifestyle magazine You and I as an editor and stylist. “After two years with the publication and meeting wonderful people from the industry, who inspired me, I decided to step down as an editor and venture into the fashion realm, which led to the birth of my label,” explains Reddy.
Recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Designer of the Year in 2019, she says her first milestone was taking to the runway at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer-Resort 2013. In the same year, for the Winter-Festive edition, the first celebrity to model her bridal collection was Kalki Koechlin, dressed in a gauzy-sheer lemon green lehenga. And her fondest memory from her early design days is, “When I created an outfit for the ever-so-graceful Madhuri Dixit for her appearance as a judge on a dance reality show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. That’s when I knew I had truly arrived.”
Made in Hyderabad
Reddy’s philosophy since the beginning of her career has been to stay true to her roots and herself. In no time she successfully positioned herself as one of the few sought-after couturiers from Hyderabad, for which she’s grateful. “We Hyderabadis are Nizams by tradition and hence, a little laid back, which is why you don’t see a big crop of designers here.” But gradually that’s changing because people are noticing the city’s workmanship, artists and techniques.
All that she’s inspired by in her everyday life manifests into her designs. Her ensembles that are equal parts edgy and feminine, laden with intricate zardozi and cutdana embroidery, dominantly speak a floral language. “I love the softness, elegance, vibrant colours and abundant beauty of flora around us. There’s always something to just pick up and start with.”
Challenges turned into lessons
When Reddy entered the fashion business, there weren’t many brands that were from Hyderabad. There were a few celebrated designers from other cities who had made their mark here, but no designers had their roots here. Now, that has changed considerably, because the clientele’s outlook towards wedding, especially bridal wear has changed. “People have become more welcoming of different designs, styles and patterns, giving us more space to work and experiment with,” says Reddy. For her, facing the existing competition was a challenge, but with self-belief and determination to build an empire, she continued her work.
At the risk of sounding too cliché, Reddy says, “My biggest lesson has been that learning never stops. Whether you’re working with a celebrity, kaarigar or an assistant, the more you listen, the more you learn. This is what I’ve done since the beginning.”